Counseling and Therapy Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Person-Centered Therapy

I would imagine that being a co-therapist for W.M. using person-centered or Rogerian technique would present some interesting difficulties. The first thought that occurs to me is instinctual: W.M. is a young man who has experienced some traumatic life events, but also uses (in Karen's words) "dark humor and attention-getting language" to express himself. My instinctive response is to wonder how to respond to W.M.'s humor within the context of Rogers's famous "unconditional positive regard" shown by therapist to client (Corey 2013).

In some sense, W.M.'s dark humor is a bit of a trap for the Rogerian therapist. Outside of a therapy session, humor is an important social mode for a 21-year-old male. Women his age will frequently say they are searching for a great sense of humor in selecting a boyfriend, and group dynamics among late adolescents frequently center around shared jokes. In some sense, not to laugh at W.M.'s dark humor might risk breaking the non-judgmental ethic of person-centered therapy -- it seems like an implicit judgment upon a person when you don't laugh at their jokes. To sit there and mimic the "expected" reaction to a tale of childhood incest and sex abuse, meth-addicted mothering, and the suicide of one's only support system -- with a solemn imitation of empathy -- would run the risk of not validating the client's own feelings on the matter, which entail using humor as a coping mechanism. But on the other hand, to laugh along when W.M. offers dark humor about his painful life story might also permit W.M. To distance himself from the therapeutic relationship -- it could potentially allow him to group the therapist in with people who laugh at him, and allow W.M. To keep his distance even in the therapeutic environment. The dark humor is a distancing technique, after all -- for the therapist to participate in the humor may validate the client's own feelings, but it also may undercut the usefulness of therapy. Corey notes that Carl Rogers thought therapy was based upon the underlying assumption that the client can always move forward and grow if the right conditions that foster growth are actually present (Corey 2013). To some extent, W.M.'s coping strategy of humor is also a distancing technique, and it may actually be the client's indicator…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Corey, G. (2013). Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. (Ninth Edition). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

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